Thursday, December 3, 2015

European Union: Roach Motel, Hotel California or Nightmarish Circus Midway?

What is the European Union, a roach motel where you check in but never check out as you are eaten from the inside out?  Or is it the Hotel California, an American Horror Story Hotel populated by insatiable vampires that slash open your arteries, sucks out your blood and the marrow from your bones and leaves the remains to turn to dust? 

The rape and murder of European Union member Greece, through the EU currency called the Euro has been labeled by Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman as a Roach Motel.  From New York Times:


So we have learned that the euro is a Roach Motel — once you go in, you can never get out. And once inside you are at the mercy of those who can pull your financing and crash your banking system unless you toe the line…

Debtors are forced into draconian austerity, while creditors face no pressure to reflate; economic crisis, which should be met with expansionary policy, instead leads to contraction because of this asymmetry….

Then “internal devaluation” requires sacrificing around 100 percent of a year’s GDP. Let’s repeat that: given what we now know about the rules of the game, countries as overvalued as much of the European periphery became thanks to the lending boom are supposed to sacrifice a full year’s economic output as part of a process of beating prices and wages down.

So Krugman believes the European Union and the Eurozone are a Roach Motel.  Members are forced into draconian austerity that worsens the financial stability, then the country must borrow from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) with repayment terms that require opening their agriculture to Monsanto and liquidating their assets. 

Sounds less like a Roach Motel and more like American Horror Story Hotel populated by insatiable vampires who feed off humanity.  But the brave people of Greece rejected the IMF bailout and voted against continued austerity to bring the Syriza Party to power.  Alexis Tsipras promised the Greek People that he would fight for them and they responded.  But alas, Tsipras is just another vampire serving his IMF master.  From The Guardian:


Yanis Varoufakis brands Alexis Tsipras the ‘new De Gaulle’ as election gets ugly

Breaking the wary truce since his surprise resignation the day after Greeks voted to reject austerity in a referendum last month, Varoufakis has lashed out at the leftwing leader’s policy choices, saying in an interview in the New Review that Tsipras had decided “to surrender” to the punitive demands of international creditors keeping Athens afloat.

Instead of remaining faithful to the anti-austerity platform on which his radical left Syriza party had been elected, the young prime minister had allowed his ego to get the better of him and made a conscious decision to become the “new De Gaulle, or Mitterrand more likely”….

 “Tsipras made a decision on that night of the referendum not only to surrender to the troika but also to implement the terms of surrender ….

As a result, Syriza once the hope of Europe’s anti-austerity movement, had not only betrayed the cause but mutated into the very thing it had set out not to be…

In July 62% of Greeks, at the behest of Tsipras, voted to reject policies that have been blamed for the nation’s extraordinary loss of GDP and economic depression in recent years

Just like Krugman said, the EU’s “internal devaluation” requires sacrificing around 100 percent of a year’s GDP, and that is what the people of Greece voted against.  And what did Tsipras give them in return?  From World Socialist Web Site:


The Syriza government is working closely with the EU to eliminate fundamental social rights won by the European working class in the 20th century. After the EU and the Greek government agreed in 2011 to eliminate universal health care, by requiring the unemployed to pay for their own care, Syriza is preparing what amounts to the liquidation of the right to a publicly funded retirement.

Pensions are to be cut by increasing penalties on early retirement, and by imposing a further 20 percent cut in the minimum pension for new retirees, which will be reduced from €486 to €392 per month….

And that was just the beginning for the people of Greece.  The insatiable vampires in the EU’s Hotel California were just getting warmed up.  From Global Research:


Multinational Vultures Cluster Round Greece: Airports, Ports, Tourist Resorts, Energy Assets and Utilities

The sentence of privatisation, which Britain has found inefficient and expensive in most cases, has been passed on Greece.

On July 12, the summit of eurozone leaders dictated terms to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who accepted all, including the sale of Greece’s remaining public assets.

Business Insider reports that Eurozone leaders demanded that Greek public assets be transferred to an independent fund renamed the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), to help to make the scheduled repayment of the new loan and recapitalization of banks and other assets. The fund was set up in July 2011 after the Greek sovereign debt crisis and opposed by Syriza, which suspended most planned privatisations when it came to power.

Ben Chu (the Independent) reports that Germany originally proposed that HRADF be run from Luxembourg by a German state bank, prompting accusations on social media of a German “coup”.

‘Big-ticket items’ listed on the HRADF’s website for interested buyers

·        athens airport
·        state lottery,
·        horse-betting,
·        Olympic venues,
·        Athens International Airport,
·        37 regional airports,
·        Port of Piraeus and 100% of the shares of 11 other ports,
·        many marinas,
·        tourist resorts,
·        state real estate especially on picture-perfect islands,
·        thermal springs on the mainland,
·        hotels with high historical and cultural value in privileged locations,
·        Greek real estate holdings in New York, Washington and Belgrade
·        And the Public Power Corporation S.A., which provides energy to four-fifths of the country’s population.

Other companies which may be sold include a natural gas importer and distributor, three oil refineries, Athens water company, the postal provider, ELTA, more than 400 miles of roads, TRAINOSE (railroad and bus transport) and ROSCO which maintains Greek trains.

Ben Chu adds that the IMF estimates Greece’s saleable state assets were worth around half the sum needed and that the proceeds from future privatisations are likely to be only €500m a year: “At that rate the €50bn would not be reached for 100 years”.

Maybe the Greek people should take any money they have out of the banks and hide it in their mattresses for safety.  Wait, what’s this?  From Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:


Greeks Told To Declare Cash "Under The Mattress", Jewelry And Precious Stones

When earlier today we read a report in the Greek Enikonomia, according to which Greek taxpayers would be forced to declare all cash "under the mattress" (including inside) or boxes that contain more than 15,000 euros as well as jewelry and precious stones (including gold) worth over 30,000 euros, starting in 2016, we assumed this has to be some early April fools joke or a mistake….

It was not a joke.

Here is the take of Keep Talking Greece, whose stunned response mirrors ours.

Cash "under the mattress" totaling more than 15,000 euro, jewelry and other valuable items such as diamonds and gemstones, should be declared to electronic system of tax authorities, Taxisnet, as of 1 January 2016. Next to properties and vehicles and shares, now the taxpayers will also have to declare their deposits. And not only that. They will have to fill if they rent bank lockers and if yes, also the name of the bank and the branch, even if abroad.

Jeebus, do they have to declare any gold in their teeth?  And speaking of humanity, what was the toll on the human population of Greece by the “Christian” nations of the EU?  From U.K. Mirror:


Greek women forced into prostitution for 'the cost of a sandwich' because of country's debt crisis

A new report reveals women are selling sex for as little as €2 with others doing it 'just for a cheese pie or a sandwich because they are hungry.

Women in Greece are being forced to sell their bodies for sex for as little as the cost of a sandwich because of the country's crippling debt crisis…

Report author Gregory Lazos of Panteion University in Athens said there are now around 18,500 sex workers in Greece.

Professor Lazos told The Times: "Some women just do it for a cheese pie, or a sandwich they need to eat because they are hungry.

And Greece is not some outlier, an anomaly.  There’s plenty of room at the EU’s Hotel California because once the vampires drain one country there is a vacancy at the Inn.  Enter Portugal: From Paul CraigRoberts:


New Socialist Government Keeps Portuguese People Under The Whip– Paul Craig Roberts

The austerity imposed on the Portuguese people by the One Percent has resulted in the election of a coalition government of socialists, communists, and a “left bloc.”  In the 20th century, socialism and the fear of communism humanized Europe, but beginning with Margaret Thatcher the achievements of decades of social reforms have been rolled back throughout Europe as bought-and-paid for governments have given all preference to the One Percent.

Public assets are being privatized, and social pensions and services are being reduced in order to make interest payments to private banks.

When the recent Portuguese vote gave a majority to the anti-austerity bloc, the right-wing Portuguese president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, a creature of Washington and the big banks, announced that the leftwing would not be permitted to form a government, just as the senior British general announced that a Labour Government formed by Jeremy Corbyn would not be permitted to form. 

True to her word, Anibal reappointed the austerity prime minister, Passos Coelho. However, the unity of the socialists with the communists and the left bloc swept Coelho from office and the president had to recognize a new government. 

The new government means that for the first in a long time there is a government in Portugual that possibly could represent the people rather than Washington and the One Percent.

However, if the new government leaves the banks in charge and remains committed to the EU, the current president, previous prime minister, and previous finance minister, Maria Luis Albuquerque, will continue to work to overthrow the people’s will as occurred in Greece…

The new Portuguese government cannot escape austerity without nationalizing the banks and leaving the EU. The failure of the Greek government to bite the bullet resulted in the Greek government’s acceptance of the austerity that it was elected to oppose….

According to the Financial Times, representatives of the new socialist government have given reassurance that the new government will not abandon the austerity policies. Mario Centeno declared: “It’s not the direction we challenge, but the speed of travel.”

CENTENO IS A HARVARD-TRAINED NEOLIBERAL ECONOMIST. He told the Financial Times that the new government was committed to remaining in the EU and would continue with the austerity program….

Another European Union success story, success for the bankers that is.  And the people of Britain want out of the EU Hotel California, they said so in their recent election.  From The Telegraph:


Jeremy Corbyn is new Labour leader with stunning 60 per cent of votes in first round

• Jeremy Corbyn has won the Labour leadership contest with almost 60 per cent in the first round of voting. The landslide victory saw him take 251,000 of the total 422,000 votes cast. He won the most support from members, registered supporters and affiliated members alike.

• In his victory speech, Mr Corbyn said: "During these amazing three months, our party has changed. We have grown enormously, because of the hopes of so many ordinary people for a different Britain, a better Britain, a more equal Britain, a more decent Britain. They are fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in in a spirit of hope and optimism…."

• He reasserted his message that Britain does not need nuclear weapons – ahead of a plan to persuade his party to back his controversial stance.

• Thousands of people packed out Parliament Square for a pro-refugee rally at which Jeremy Corbyn received ecstatic screams and cheers as he defiantly proclaimed: "We are all humans. We must spend our resources on helping people, not hindering people. None of this is easy. But surely we have the principle that we are all human beings on the same planet and we all want the next generation to be better off than we are."

Oh, happy days are here again.  The British people are going to end this horrible age of militarization at the expense of their health, welfare and wealth.  The people have spoken loud and clear.  But, what’s this?  The British military is threatening a military coup if Corbyn becomes Prime Minister?  From The Daily Mail:


'We won't stand for it': Army top brass warn there will be a MUTINY if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister

·        Serving general predicts mass resignations if Labour wins the next election
·        He said the arm would be forced to take 'direct action' against Mr Corbyn
·        Labour leader has publicly called for abolition of armed forces and Trident
·        However, he faces a shadow cabinet rebellion over his radical proposals

What, Corbyn faces a shadow cabinet rebellion?  Are you saying the British have a separate government that supersedes the elected government?  Are you saying there’s a government in Britain where the One Percent have representation without taxation, and a government elected by people who have taxation without representation?  Looks like we are through the looking glass.  Oh yeah, vampires can’t be seen in the looking glass.

The senior serving general, speaking anonymously to the Sunday Times, said Mr Corbyn's victory has been greeted with 'wholesale dismay' in the army.

He added: 'There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny.

'Feelings are running very high within the armed forces. You would see a major break in convention with senior generals directly and publicly challenging Corbyn over vital important policy decisions such as Trident, pulling out of Nato and any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.

'The Army just wouldn't stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul to prevent that. You can't put a maverick in charge of a country's security.'

The general, who served in Northern Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s, said many soldiers were sickened by Mr Corbyn's admiration for the IRA and Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah…

Intelligence chiefs have also warned that Mr Corbyn will receive only 'restricted access' to intelligence because of his links to radical terror groups.

So the Military is threatening to overthrow the government elected by the people using any means “fair or foul” if there are any policy decisions that would cut any funding for the military.

The EU vampires have drained the peoples of the member countries for years, and how have the citizens benefitted?  From TheGuardian:


Scandal of Europe's 11m empty homes

Housing campaigners denounce 'shocking waste' of homes lying empty while millions cry out for shelter

More than 11m homes lie empty across Europe – enough to house all of the continent's homeless twice over – according to figures collated by the Guardian from across the EU.

In Spain more than 3.4m homes lie vacant, in excess of 2m homes are empty in each of France and Italy, 1.8m in Germany and more than 700,000 in the UK.

There are also a large numbers of vacant homes in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and several other countries, according to information collated by the Guardian.

Many of the homes are in vast holiday resorts built in the feverish housing boom in the run up to the 2007-08 financial crisis – and have never been occupied.

On top of the 11m empty homes – many of which were bought as investments by people who never intended to live in them – hundreds of thousands of half-built homes have been bulldozed in an attempt to shore up the prices of existing properties.

Housing campaigners said the "incredible number" of homes lying empty while millions of poor people were crying out for shelter was a "shocking waste"…


So, Krugman thinks the EU is a Roach Motel, others believe it is an American Horror Story Hotel California whereas Jeff Thomas at SprottMoney thinks it’s a nightmarish circus Midway:


A Look At The Coming Collapse Of The European Union

When I was a boy, a carnival would come through town annually, with a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round and, of course, a midway: rows of makeshift stalls where fair-goers might win a prize by throwing a ball at weighted milk bottles, shooting a rifle at metal ducks, or pitching pennies at small glass bowls.

If you were to succeed in any of the above, the standard prize was a small stuffed bear…

I was one of the lucky ones. I actually did take home a prize on one occasion. I had been going to the fair faithfully every year and would save up my pennies for weeks in advance, so I’d have plenty to invest in bear futures on the midway.

It was only a day or two after I brought home my prize that I realized that I had spent several dollars in pennies winning a stuffed bear that probably (back then, in the 1950’s) only cost fifty cents to produce and, after I possessed it, actually had zero value to me…I had no use for a cheap stuffed bear.

So, here’s the penny-pitch progression:

Promise of significant benefits for what seems a minimal initial investment….

Realisation that the aggregate cost of the prize was so high that the money would have been better spent on something else.

In 1993, Europeans were invited to the new European Union Carnival. In addition to the rides, there would be a midway: a variety of benefits such as open borders, a common currency and the opportunity to work in other countries more easily than before.

Most European countries joined, even though, in most cases, only a minority of registered voters actually declared their desire for membership. The midway organisers (the political leaders) were all in favour and virtually everyone joined.

Like any midway game, all those who signed on were required to pony up, but the amount of money being invested seemed relatively small at the time. But like any midway game, it’s not the first pitch of the penny that gets you…it’s the subsequent, seemingly unending ones. It adds up.

Still, there have been those who have actually benefitted: those who actually moved to another EU country and got a good job; those who conduct multi-national business, etc., but, in the main, the conveniences have not been that great and the negatives, more and more, are eclipsing the benefits.

The non-elected oligarchy of the European Union passes new laws at will. Moreover, at this point, so much money has been thrown at non-productive members that entire countries are, in effect, welfare states, living off the teat of the more productive countries.

I wonder who the welfare states are, living off the teat of the more productive countries that Jeff Thomas speaks of.  Certainly not Portugal or Greece.  Seems to me the vampires of the EU and the One Percent that control the wealth are living off the emaciated teats of Portugal and Greece as well as all the other member states.  

And then there’s Ukraine, who rejected the “coveted membership” into the EU and IMF.  For Ukraine, their membership offer was enforced by the CIA and NATO.  It was an offer at the tip of a sword, an acceptance was forced by the barrel of a gun.  Ukraine’s elected government was overthrown and a government of billionaires was put in place to accommodate the One Percent.  The EU/IMF vampires are quite pleased with the new “Ukrainian guests” at the Hotel California.  From News United:



Kiev, Ukraine (AP) — International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has told Ukraine's president that she was impressed with the progress his government has made toward stabilizing the Ukrainian economy. Lagarde was in Kiev before a visit by an IMF mission to assess whether Ukraine has met the necessary conditions to receive the third installment of a four-year $17.5 billion loan...

Welcome to the Hotel California, Ukraine.  And just what were the conditions that the billionaire Poroshenko met in order to secure an IMF loan?  What conditions are the people of Ukraine living under that has so pleased Christine Legarde?  From WorldSocialist Web Site:


Social crisis dominates municipal elections in Ukraine

The first round of municipal elections in Ukraine, held one week ago, shed light on the catastrophic social and political conditions in the country. Nearly 21 months after the coup that overthrew President Viktor Yanukovych, followed by the signing of an association agreement with the European Union (EU), the country is in social and economic free-fall. Clans of oligarchs continue to exercise a stranglehold on the country based on bribery and corruption.

Although some 6,000 Ukrainians have been killed in the civil war launched by the Western-backed Kiev regime, headed since May of 2014 by the oligarch Petro Poroshenko, this was not the dominant issue in the election. What predominated was growing social discontent throughout Ukraine.

The elections for mayors, city councils and regional legislatures were characterised by mass voter abstention and accusations of fraud. In several cities in eastern Ukraine, such as Mariupol, the election was cancelled at the last minute. In areas controlled by pro-Russian separatists, such as Donetsk, no vote took place.

Election turnout was only 46 percent…

Broad sections of the population in both parts of the country have been driven into dire poverty by the civil war and the ruthless policies of the oligarchic clans. The near-collapse of the economy and decline of the country’s currency, the hryvnya, have impoverished wide layers of the population. Many people can no longer afford to purchase bread and lack the money needed to pay for daily tram transport. “Poverty is eating into the middle class,” the German daily Die Zeit reported at the beginning of the year.

Ukraine’s economy shrank by over 7 percent last year, and this year the decline is expected to approach 12 percent. Inflation is running at 50 percent. In the first six months of 2015, real wages dropped by a quarter. “THIS IS THE RESULT OF THE REFORMS IMPLEMENTED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN EXCHANGE FOR LOANS FROM THE WEST,” the Frankfurter Rundschau wrote.

The minimum wage in Ukraine is now less than that of Ghana and Zambia. Ukraine’s gross domestic product is half that of the European Union’s poorest country, Bulgaria.

Welcome to American Horror Story Hotel California, we’re so happy to have you.

By Patricia Baeten

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